Imagine that you’re on your way home after a fun pub crawl with your buddies when you come upon a DUI checkpoint. Do you know what to expect in field sobriety test circumstances? Here is a rundown on what you can expect if you’re ever asked to do a field sobriety test.


What Is A Field Sobriety Test?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed a series of standardized tests for law enforcement to use to see if a person is likely to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. You are legally intoxicated if your BAC is 0.08% or more.

Szar Bail Bonds What to Expect in Field Sobriety Test

Cop Suspecting a Man of Drunk Driving

Today’s field tests consist of three separate parts.  Here is what to expect in field sobriety test evaluations

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test – This test looks for the involuntary eyeball jerks that occur when an intoxicated individual looks side to side.
  • Walk and turn test – The police officer instructs the individual to take nine steps using a heel to toe method and then turn around and repeat the nine steps.
  • One leg stand test – Individual lifts one foot about six inches off the ground and begins to count starting with one thousand and continuing until told to stop. The test lasts about thirty seconds.

All three tests have established guidelines that the officer will use to determine if the results present probable cause for an arrest.


Optional Test

The first thing to know when a police officer suspects that you’re driving under the influence is that you don’t need to agree to perform a field sobriety test. Sure, passing the test when you’re not intoxicated might be a quick way to show that you’re not driving drunk so that you can continue on your way home. However, if you’ve had a few drinks performing poorly on the three tests can result in a trip to jail.

Some experts also argue that your performance on a field sobriety test may not be enough to keep you out of jail if the law enforcement officer believes that you’re drunk before administering the test. That said, defense attorneys recommend that you politely decline to do the tests.

Although you don’t have to do a field test in Pennsylvania, the police officer might still have probable cause to transport you to jail for DUI. Once arrested you must submit to a chemical blood alcohol concentration test that will provide a more accurate result.

Lastly, now that you know what to expect in field sobriety test situations, we hope that you’ll resist the urge to drink and drive. If you do find yourself in the unhappy position of a DUI arrest, contact us at Szar Bail Bonds to get out of jail.